Moles are small, coloured spots on the skin. Most people have them and they’re usually nothing to worry about unless they change size, shape or colour. They are a common type of skin growth. They often appear as small, dark brown spots and are caused by clusters of pigmented cells. Moles generally appear during childhood and adolescence.

The most common types of moles are raised moles and flat moles.  Benign moles are usually brown, tan, pink or black (especially on dark-coloured skin). They are circular or oval and are usually small (commonly between 1–3 mm) (see picture), though some can be larger than the size of a typical pencil eraser (>5 mm). Some moles produce dark, coarse hair.

 

Most people have 10 to 40 moles, some of which may change in appearance or fade away over time. Most moles are harmless. Rarely, they become cancerous. Monitoring moles and other pigmented patches is an important step in detecting skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma. The medical term for moles is nevi. You might decide to have a mole removed for a couple of reasons. Some moles can be bothersome due to size and location. Others might need to be removed because of a doctor’s orders due to melanoma concerns. You should never remove a mole at home on your own. A dermatologist may shave off smaller moles but recommend cutting for larger or cancerous ones. Depending on the size of the removal area, you may need stitches. It can also take two appointments to completely remove a mole.

Procedure

These lesions are usually removed under simple local anaesthesia. An elliptical excision is made over the cyst in the natural skin tension lines and the sac and the root of the cyst are removed (See Picture). The wound is closed in layers with deep absorbable sutures and fine non-absorbable sutures that are removed at 1 week. The same process is done for moles and the histology is checked for any atypical features.

Complications

  • Infection
  • Scar – Poor scarring (hypertrophic or Keloid)
  • Bleeding
  • Further treatment
  • Recurrence
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